MonthNovember 2008

DMT lab busted in Buffalo, NY

Four men were arrested this morning as federal drug agents busted a South Buffalo laboratory where a potent psychedelic drug known as dimethyltryptamine — or DMT — was being manufactured illegally.

The clandestine drug lab was believed to have been operated for at least the past six months in a house on Fredro Street, in the Clinton-Bailey area, said Dale Kasprzyk, a Buffalo supervisor of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“To our knowledge, this is the first DMT lab busted in Western New York, and only the third ever in New York state,” Kasprzyk said. “DMT is a drug that is just beginning to emerge in this area.”

Full Story: Buffalo News

(via Dose Nation)

Woman accused of Wicca denied retrial in custody case

Did talk of a mother’s (alleged) adherence to Wicca cause her to lose custody of her child? That is the allegation of Andrea Hicks, who said that Chicot County Circuit Judge Robert Vittitow improperly considered her religious views in his ruling.

“In her appeal of Chicot County Circuit Judge Robert Vittitow’s decision, the mother noted Vittitow described Wicca in his opinion letter as ‘a religion, movement, cult or whatever it that may be.’ The judge also wrote that while the mother testified she was only joking when she told the boy’s father that she was involved with Wicca, the ‘court believes she is much more involved than she would lead us to believe.'”

Hicks’ first appeal was denied, even though the two dissenting judges believed that the ruling ‘impermissibly considered’ her faith. You can read the opinions of the judges on the appeal court, here (Andrea Hicks v. Joshua A. Cook). Now, somewhat unsurprisingly, a motion to rehear the appeal has been denied with the same justices dissenting.

“In a dissenting opinion Wednesday, Hart said Circuit Judge Robert Vittitow interrogated the mother about the practice of Wicca and made an explicit finding that she was practicing Wicca in his written order. Even if the mother did practice Wicca, “there is absolutely no evidence that practicing Wicca was in an way harmful to the child,” Hart wrote. Hart also accused the child’s father of making “vile and slanderous” statements in his response to the petition for rehearing…”

Full Story: Wild Hunt

(Thanks Bill!)

Drone “Strange Craft”

Drone on Myspace

(via OVO)

Peter “Sleazey” Christopherson interview

peter sleazey christopherson

Turns out Sleazey’s new project, Threshold HouseBoys Choir, just played in Boston.

Just walking along the street, I am constantly struck dumb by the beauty of a piece of rust on an old gate, or the purity of the sound of a blind beggar singing for his supper, or the chord made by three competing air-conditioners. I think that most people filter out those kind of things from their perception of life, by necessity — to avoid going mad from the overload. In doing so, they miss a whole mind-blowing, extraordinary world of joy.

All I have always tried to do is share my joy, that joy, with other people. Unfortunately, to see these things and not go mad myself, I have had to filter out different things, such as where I put my glasses, or what day it is, or whether I have spilled noodle-sauce on my trousers. ,-)

Obviously the Mellotron used tapes to reproduce the sound of real instruments, and backings, and the Fairlight was invented (it seems to me) to do the same thing, only digitally and with more tools for composition and manipulation. But I was using one of the first Apple IIs ever made on stage with TG, before the first Fairlight even left Australia, to reproduce all kinds of sounds and “music concret” – I never understood why these wonderful toys should only be used to put a string-player out of a job.

“Look what I can do with the sound of a Polaroid camera, or some teenagers first gasping ejaculation, or the sobbing confessions of a young murderer or mercenary, or the regular thump and hiss of a life-support machine!” I thought. How much more power and meaning do those sounds have, than a not very clear reproduction of a French horn playing a B flat? For me, it’s a no-brainer.

Full Story: Tiny Mixtapes

(Thanks Trevor)

Previously: Video for Peter “Sleazey” Christopherson’s first post-Coil project: The Threshold HouseBoys Choir “A Time of Happening”

Piracy does not fund terrorism

Another great one from Johnny Brainwash:

Somalia has had no effective government since 1991 or so, except for a brief period of rule by the Islamic Courts. During that period, Somalis had some semblance of peace. Piracy was largely halted. The price, of course, was to live under strict Sharia law.

If you’ve ever smugly quoted Ben Franklin to the effect that those who give up essential liberty to achieve temporary security deserve neither, I hope you’ll give some thought to Somalia. I intend to post on this question at greater length in the future, but it represents perfectly the conflict embedded in that famous quote. Somalis stare into the darkest aspect of this question every day, and if the international system wants to end piracy and restore order in Somalia, it’s going to have to face the same tough conflict as well.

Full Story: dysnomia.us

Army Launches $50 Million Videogame Push

The Army’s Training and Doctrine Command is getting ready to pour $50 million into videogames that’ll help troops get ready for combat.

Development won’t start until 2010, Stars & Stripes reports. The games themselves wont be ready until 2015. By then, the U.S. military will be in its eighth decade, using games to prep troops for war — starting with primitive, 1940s flight simulators bought from a Coney Island amusement park.

This isn’t the Army’s first stab at developing games, either. In 1999, the Army teamed up with gaming and Hollywood pros to found the Institute for Creative Technologies in Los Angeles; it’s become one of the world’s most advanced schools for simulation-building. 2002 saw the debut of the wildly-successful shoot-em-up, America’s Army, developed by the military as a recruiting tool. In 2004, the Army set up a videogame studio in North Carolina. Last year, Training and Doctrine Command opened a new office for gaming.

Full Story: Danger Room

See also: the military-nintendo complex

Previously:

America’s Army: Free Video Game, Social Engineering Tool, Surveillance Platform

Tracy Twyman on Coast to Coast

Journalist and occult expert Tracy Twyman discussed the shocking stories from her new book, Mind Controlled Sex Slaves and the CIA. She covered a number of infamous accounts within this realm, such as the story of Cathy O’Brien, the Franklin Cover-Up, and the disappearance of Johnny Gosch. Reflecting on the more credible stories she has researched, Twyman said, “They don’t seem like they’re seeking attention. They don’t even seem like people who have read Internet conspiracy theories. They seem like they’re talking about the experiences they had.”

Full Story: Coast to Coast

Interview with Author Susan Wright

Susan Wright writes science fiction novels and nonfiction books on art and popular culture. New York City is her home, where she lives with her husband Kelly Beaton. After graduating from Arizona State University in 1986, Susan moved to Manhattan to get her masters in Art History from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. Susan is currently the Spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a national organization committed to protecting freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults.

TiamatsVisionFor those unfamiliar with you and your work, tell us a bit about yourself.

Susan Wright– I’ve written over 25 novels and nonfiction books on art and popular culture. Right after I got my masters in art history from New York University, instead of becoming a professor as I had intended, I started writing. I was lucky enough to get an agent and in 1994, I published my first Star Trek novel, “Sins of Commission”. I wrote 9 Star Trek novels in all, and I have a new story in the Mirror Universe Shards and Shadows anthology coming out in January, 2009 called “Bitter Fruit”.

I’m also the spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. I talk to the media about BDSM, swinging and polyamory to debunk stereotypes and defend our communities’ right to hold events. NCSF is a great organization, the only one devoted to helping people in need. The website is www.ncsfreedom.org

TiamatsVisionYou recently released a book called “A Pound of Flesh”  which is a sequel to “To Serve and Submit” . What is this series about and what was your inspiration in writing it?

Susan Wright– These two books are about pleasure training houses in the 11th century – Viking sex! In “To Serve and Submit” , Marja is a submissive heroine who learns through her battles to save her homeland how to use her true nature to become a powerful woman. She falls in love with her master, Lexander. I got the idea from artifacts found in Newfoundland of Viking settlements, and I imagined what would that society be like if it had flourished. I knew the first “new world” settlement would include Native Americans as well as Vikings. Marja’s mother is a Skraeling and her father is Nordic so she straddles those worlds.

In “A Pound of Flesh” , Marja travels to Europe to save the slaves from the pleasure houses, but she has to fight Lexander, her former master and lover, to do it. I loved writing the BDSM scenes in this book because I think it makes the sex more creative – they aren’t the typical love scene. I have much more ability to move the story along during these scenes because the interactions are more intense.

TiamatsVisionDid you have to do any special research for this series?

Susan Wright– LOL! I found the leather community in New York City in 1991 and have been thoroughly involved ever since. So the BDSM is a completely natural expression for me.

For the Viking and real-world building, yes I did a tremendous amount of research. I also benefited because I studied art history for 7 years with an emphasis on the Middle Ages so I have a strong grounding in medieval societies.

TiamatsVisionAre there any future books planned for this series?

Susan Wright– Yes, but my editor left Roc and the future of this series is in doubt. At some point, however, I will return to Marja and Lexander’s story. They will go to Tantalis to deal directly with Lexander’s people who are enslaving poor misfortunates into their pleasure houses.

TiamatsVisionWhat got you interested in writing, and who are some of your favorite authors?

Susan Wright– When I was a young teen, I loved Heinlein novels. They were dated, but nothing could beat his story-telling. I was a passionate reader and that was always the most important thing”‘a story that could take me away and show me things I’d never imagined. Now I read mostly science fiction and urban fantasy. Also lots of 19th century novels, any I can get my hands on, so Trollope with his copious output is a favorite of mine.

I got a computer when I was getting my masters, and that’s when I became a writer. I’m big on editing over and over, putting together a story and layering in details, so I need a computer to create the way I want to. The words poured out of me. I couldn’t stop myself from being a writer, despite the hardship that it’s caused in my life. But being able to write full time, and create the books I want to, is worth everything I had to give up.

TiamatsVisionYou’ve written the Dark Passions books for the Star Trek series and a book on Area 51, ” UFO Headquarters: Investigations on Current Extraterrestrial Activity in Area 51″ . What else have you written and what are you currently working on?

Susan Wright– My first science fiction trilogy is called Slave Trade. The first novel, Slave Trade” , is available on a brand new cooperative of over 20 published authors – www.bookviewcafe.com. I’m really excited about this project. A bunch of us authors got together to create a fun website where we give away electronic versions of our out-of-print and unpublished work. I’m posting a free chapter of “Slave Trade”  every Tuesday – you can read the chapters online that I’ve already posted, or download it. If you can’t wait each week to read it, you can download the entire novel for $4.99.

Currently I’m working on Confessions of a Demon”  and the sequel, “Demon Revelation” . They’re urban fantasies set in New York City, featuring a possessed human heroine, Allay. Demons are emotional vampires, living off the feelings of others. Allay has to survive in the midst of an ancient demon war without becoming anyone’s pawn. “Confessions of a Demon”  will be published in October 2009.

TiamatsVisionHow did you get involved in writing the Dark Passions books for the Star Trek series?

Susan Wright– My editor, John Ordover, came to me with the idea of writing a set of mirror universe novels featuring the “bad girls” of Star Trek. That was the working title but Paramount nixed it, unfortunately. They feature Seven of Nine and Kira Nerys as lesbian lovers, with Deanna Troi thrown into the mix as well. They’re my best-selling Star Trek novels, which makes sense, don’t you think?

TiamatsVisionWhat inspired you to write a book about Area 51 and tape an interview with UFO hunters? Is this something you’ve always had an interest in?

Susan Wright– I wanted to find out the truth about UFOs. So what better way than to write a book about it? I sold it to St. Martin’s Press so I could live while I was doing all of the research. Since Area 51 was getting headlines in the mid-90s, I focused on that. It’s not far from where my parents live, and I’ve always been curious about the adjacent Nevada Test Site where the nuclear bomb tests were held in the 50s and 60s. This fall, ten years later, I got a call from the History Channel’s UFO Hunters who were doing an Area 51 episode. I got to go back to the border of Area 51 where we saw a Pave Hawk rise up from a gully and fly right over the top of us, like it came up from the depths of the earth! It was really exciting to get to tell what happened. The episode is supposed to air early in 2009.

TiamatsVisionWhat is the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), and how did it get started?

Susan Wright– I started NCSF in 1997 while I was working on an ad hoc project for the National Organization for Women to overturn their anti-SM policy. It took three years, but we did it! While I was educating NOW about BDSM, I kept getting emails from women who were being discriminated against or losing their child custody during divorce battles because of their BDSM. So I went to 5 of the biggest educational and social groups and asked them to join a “coalition” for sexual freedom. We had the educational and social aspect down, but we needed an advocacy group to fight the stereotypes and stigma of alternative sexual expression. Now we have 55 Coalition Partners and almost a 100 Supporting Members (groups, businesses and events who support NCSF).

NCSF has lots of different projects – our Incident Response helps people in need, along with the Media Outreach Project. We also have an Educational Outreach Project that gives workshops on how to produce events and protect yourself. We also have a new project – the DSM Revision Project that is working to educate the American Psychiatric Association about the harm the current diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) are doing to BDSM practitioners and cross-dressers. There’s a petition calling for the APA to adhere to scientific research when revising the DSM. You can find that on the front page: www.ncsfreedom.org.

TiamatsVisionAs Media Spokesperson for NCSF, what’s involved in getting the word out about your organization?

Susan Wright– I do a lot of interviews to influence the coverage of alternative sexuality. It’s having an effect – the term “consenting adults” has permeated the media and public consciousness. The vast majority of Americans agree that as long as it involves consenting adults, it’s nobody else’s business. That’s a welcome but very slow change that religious conservatives are trying to stop. There are groups that are dedicated to stopping gay rights and they dislike BDSM even more, so they attack our events.

TiamatsVisionWhat are some of your successful and more difficult cases?

Susan Wright– We have lots of successes! We help 600 people, groups, events, businesses and clubs every year. You can read the articles under NCSF in the News going back 8 years that reads like our greatest hits. We successfully defended Jack McGeorge, a UN weapons inspector who went to look for weapons in Iraq, when the media tried to discredit him because of his association with NCSF and BDSM. We successfully defended 5 major conferences in the Midwest in 2002 when Concerned Women for America spread lies that blood would flow in the hallways. We fought back Missouri State Senator John Louden when he tried to outlaw BDSM and BDSM conferences in that state. Last year we defended Kink.com when they were attacked for buying the SF Armory building, and we supported Folsom Street Fair when the Catholic League called for a boycott against Miller brewing for sponsoring the Fair because of their poster featuring Leatherfolk in a faux-Last Supper tableau.

TiamatsVisionWhat is a Kink-aware Professional, and what exactly do they do?

Susan Wright– NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals project is a free referral list of doctors, therapists and lawyers who are “kink aware” meaning they understand the special needs of kinky people. They have placed their names and information on this list, arranged by state and city, so people can find them. It really helps to have a therapist or doctor who understands about BDSM so you don’t waste time trying to explain everything. There’s still an appalling amount of discrimination by professionals, so most people don’t want to out themselves to their doctors. Also if you’re in trouble, you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars an hour explaining to your attorney the difference between SM vs. abuse. Kink Aware lawyers tend to be very helpful to those in the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities who are in trouble. It’s an invaluable resource.

TiamatsVisionIf people want to purchase your books or find out more information about the NCSF, where do they go?

Susan Wright– You can go to my website – www.susanwright.info It has a link to Book View Café where “Slave Trade”  is being offered in free chapter downloads. Also there’s a link to NCSF, and a link to my blog on Live Journal. There’s also links from my books so you can buy them if you want to. Or send me a question. I love to talk to readers.

A Former Scientologist Marketing Guru Turns Against the Church

Hawkins’ ads featured simple questions like, “Why are you unhappy?” in white print against a black background, backed by edgy music supplied by Hawkins’ friends, and finally, a shot of the Dianetics book splashed against a volcano. The ads cost around $2,000 to make, yet within months of their first nationwide appearance, Dianetics made the New York Times Best Seller List for the first time since its initial publication in 1950″‘and a special commemorative edition of the book was printed to mark the occasion.

Hawkins estimates he made more than $200 million for the church in his 35 years of marketing Dianetics. Nevertheless, he ultimately paid for his success by being thrown out of the church in 2005. Now living in Portland, Hawkins is writing a book about his experiences in Scientology.

And boy, is he pissed….

Full Story: Portland Mercury

Ry Cooder’s American West

“When Ry Cooder and I got to El Mirage Dry Lake, it was 110 degrees and heading to 117, hot enough to cook your head inside your hat. The Mojave Desert in daylight will cut the gizzard right out of you, Tom Joad once said, which is why the Okies crossed it at night. I put away the map and Ry pulled the S.U.V. through the gate and stopped. The gravel road fell away below us and vanished into the bone-white lakebed. The mirage was working: a shoreline shimmered wetly in the distance, made of bent sunlight and sand.

El Mirage Dry Lake sounds like a place one step away from nonexistence, but it’s about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, out among the Joshua trees. It’s not far from Edwards Air Force Base, in the Mojave’s military-paranormal sector, where secretive government installations lie low among the jackrabbits “‘ a land of spy planes, space aliens, off-road vehicles, sturdy reptiles and people with freaky desert habits, like racing vintage hot rods on dry lakebeds. It is, in other words, a critical stop on Ry’s California trail.

Ry Cooder “‘ the rock and blues guitarist, roots musician, record producer, songwriter and composer “‘ is a son of Santa Monica who has spent nearly 40 years exploring all corners of the musical planet, like a sharp-eared extraterrestrial on a lifelong voyage of discovery. (His two-CD career anthology, released last month, has a perfect title: “The U.F.O. Has Landed.” ) But even that barely covers it “‘ it’s strictly from his solo albums and the haunting scores he wrote for films like “Alamo Bay”  and “Paris, Texas.”  If you add all the records he has made with other musicians, like Gabby Pahinui, Flaco Jiménez, Ali Farka Touré, Mavis Staples, the Chieftains and, most famously, the Cuban all-stars of the Buena Vista Social Club, you can only wonder where on earth he could go next.The answer: his own backyard. Ry’s latest project may be his strangest and most ambitious. It’s a trilogy of concept albums, plus a short novel, that resurrects a lost California of places and people that Ry, who is 61, remembers from growing up in the 1950s. It was a dryer and poorer place then, but rich in things he likes, like simplicity and ingenuity, good musicians, cool cats and hot cars. Time and neglect have bulldozed most of it into oblivion.”

(via The New York Times)

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